By: justin.m.norton Posted in: featured, listenOn: Wednesday, September 24th, 2014
Dark, depressing death metal in the vein of Immolation, Incantation and Deathspell Omega? Yes, please. Montreal-based Phobocosm have been around since 2008 but a full-length album has been elusive, even if they’ve played with Ross Dolan and co. at festivals before. They finally made it to the studio and the resulting music is beyond heavy; it feels more like drowning than listening.
Deprived will be released on September 30 via Dark Descent, who’ve had a banner year of albums. The eight-song, 48-minute album was mixed and mastered by Colin Marston (Gorguts, Dysrhythmia, Krallice) and features artwork by Chimère Noire (Portal, Abyssal). We don’t know the names and background of the folks responsible for writing the music but, hey, this is metal after all. Initials will suffice.
Stream the entire album below and order it here. If you happen to be located in Canada, Phobocosm will play two release shows with Dark Descent bands Thantifaxath and Adversarial in Montreal on September 27th and in Toronto on October 4th.
By: Adrien Begrand Posted in: featuredOn: Wednesday, September 24th, 2014
There were around 60 new metal releases last week, but this week we’re scraping the barrel. This silly industry is weird that way. In my digging I realized that the new Divider album is terrific, well worth investigating, but aside from that, it’s as bleak as it gets. Next week though; hoo, boy.
Aside from Divider, personally I recommend you look outside the metal genre for this week’s best new albums, including ones by Leonard Cohen, Aphex Twin, and especially Goat. But if Stryper live albums are your thing, then please, be my guest. Read on:
Beak, Let Time Begin (Someoddpilot): An album concept doesn’t get much more epic in scope than an “interpretation of the origins of the universe,” and according to Beak, the origins of the universe included a lot of yelling. Facetiousness aside, though, the Chicago post-metal outfit actually does a very admirable job creating moments of seismic heaviness that are offset by quieter, meditative passages. It’s an album smart enough to know when to hold back, and that restraint makes the powerful moments leave an immediate impression. Fans of the proggier side of metal will definitely gravitate towards this one.
Death Valley Driver, Carnivore’s Oath (Diminished Fifth): The Eastern Canadian band has followed up their 2013 album with a quick, four-song EP, but rather than feeling like leftovers these new tunes show remarkable growth. The swing and swagger is still there, but there are more hooks to be heard, which only makes their hybrid of sludge and classic heavy metal all the more appealing. They’re approaching Orange Goblin levels of excellence here. Preview and purchase it via Bandcamp.
Deep Purple, Graz 1975 (Earmusic / Eagle Rock): Deep Purple’s exploration of the vaults continues with this complete live recording from Graz, Austria in 1975, which has been released in its entirety for the first time. Recorded shortly after the release of the Stormbringer album, this is not only a valuable snapshot of Deep Purple’s Mark III lineup with co-lead singers David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes, but one of Ritchie Blackmore’s last shows with the band, right before he bolted and formed Rainbow with Ronnie James Dio. So yes, that means another ferocious, 20-minute “Space Truckin’” jam, and some tremendous performances of Stormbringer tracks, including “The Gypsy” and “Lady Double Dealer”.
Disasterhate, Mirroring The Abyss (Club Inferno): When it comes to new band names these days, you either get arbitrary get the usual “metal” words bunched together (is there a band called Witchwolf yet?) or even better, broken English attempts to sound badass but ultimately make no sense. Italy’s Disasterhate definitely falls into the latter category. Musically, this debut album is a mildly intriguing blend of thrash and ‘90s groove metal, pushing the right buttons, serving up chugging riffs and well-timed vocal melodies. A song like the goth-imbued “Toxic Sleep” shows the kind of potential this band has, but not enough of the rest of the album holds up as well.
Divider, All Barren (Glory Kid Ltd.): Although the Long Island band has been around for a good eight years, this is their debut album, which at least proves that it’s not always a good idea to rush into things. Consequently Divider arrives sounding fully-formed, briding the sheer heaviness of Neurosis and the ferocity of Converge. When tossing out comparisons, referencing Neurosis and Converge should never be done lightly, either, but this record absolutely measures up to those lofty standards. Anchored in dense, crusty guitar tones, the songs veer from lurching doom, to nervous hardcore energy, to martial, Godflesh-derived paces, never lingering too long, often saying what needs to be said in less than three minutes. The best is saved for last, though, in the form of the nearly seven-minute “Silently Marching”, which takes the music into sprawling, psychedelic territory, capping off a striking, unforgettable album. Listen and purchase via Bandcamp.
Onkel Tom, H.E.L.D. (SPV): The side project of Sodom great Tom Angelripper is back with its first helping of booze-fueled thrash tunes in some 14 years. Sung entirely in German, it seems a fun little outlet for Tom, but aside from the ballad “Ich bin noch am Leben” (“I’m Still Alive”) its paeans to alcohol and flatulence wear very thin, very fast.
Stryper, Live At the Whisky (Frontiers): As last year’s very impressive No More Hell to Pay proved, these old Christian rockers can still play. No matter what you think of Stryper’s proselytizing, it’s no different than any Satanic metal band’s equally overbearing lyrics; if the music gets you, enjoy it on that basis alone. And this live album recorded in Hollywood a year ago is plenty potent, the band sounding tight, singer Michael Sweet sounding as powerful as he did 30 years ago. And “To Hell With the Devil” and “Soldiers Under Command” still absolutely scorch, enough to coax even the grumpiest anti-Christian kvltist’s fist in the air.
Not metal, but better than pretty much all metal that comes out this week:
Goat, Commune (Sub Pop): What Swedish band Goat had going for itself when the debut album World Music snuck up on people including yours truly in July 2012 was that sense of novelty that always goes over well with the indie crowd. Its strange blend of vintage heavy rock, krautrock, psychedelic, and afrobeat was not only irresistible, but completely unlike anything else out there, and its very uniqueness was why it was able to become quite a little crossover success. Two years later, the challenge now is to a) prove to audiences that the first album was no fluke, and b) sound fresh enough to keep fickle listeners interested. Although the band is drawing from the same influences that permeated World Music, the sound on Commune has been expanded more, power chords and fuzzed-out bass giving way to more sprawling, spacey arrangements. The whole thing might be slightly less consistent and revelatory than the previous album, but “Talk to God”, “Words”, and “Gathering of Ancient Tribes” show this band has not lost its potency at all.
When a band names itself after a straight to video 1995 Stuart Gordon fright flick, you can rightfully expect some lo-fi death metal goodness, most likely with samples from horror movies. Castle Freak don’t disappoint. Menacing, evil, and poorly recorded, this is some seriously quality old-school death. Their latest EP, Still Rotting, is even coming out on cassette for that extra bit of authenticity! Check out the entire thing for yourself below.
***Still Rotting comes out October 7 on Tridroid records. In the meantime, you can preorder the cassette here and download their demo here.
We’re big fans of Philly grind-punkers/Decibel tour vets Die Choking around these parts — some readers may recall our in-depth interview from earlier this year — so it is an honor and a privilege to be granted the opportunity to offer up this exclusive full stream of the band’s new blistering, un-fucking-relenting EP, II. Check it out…
Preorder IIhere. A cool bit on the story behind the track “Tonsil” is here. Tour dates after the jump.
Glenn Danzig’s fame has never waned. But in today’s constantly connected world he’s stayed famous for the wrong reasons: getting very publicly knocked out after a backstage argument in 2004; suing his former bandmates and buying cat litter at the wrong place. It’s easy to forget why people cared in the first place: Danzig wrote some of the best songs the American underground has produced, songs that have influenced generations of metal and punk bands. Take away the poorly timed pictures and Internet memes and Evil Elvis would still loom large. And, he’s never become a flat out joke like one time bandmate Jerry Only and the circus version of The Misfits, even if his explanation of the famous knockout strains credulity.
Danzig has dusted off his old Samhain material for a series of seven exclusive shows this fall. You can’t call it a full on reunion without bassist Eerie Von, even if Baroness guitarist Peter Adams faithfully recreated Samhain’s sound along with original members London May and Steve Zing. But the evening offered a chance for Danzig to show off his sometimes overlooked middle period and remind us why his music matters. Danzig’s work with The Misfits and as a solo artist gets more attention but the Samhain songs are among his best, pairing a Goth sensibility with punk and metal long before it was fashionable and popularized by bands like Decibel cover stars In Solitude.
Samhain stood in front of a glowing orange backdrop of the November Coming Fire cover and spent 80 minutes playing most of of their too short catalog. The evening started with the entire Initium album, Samhain’s first and most beloved record. Slower songs like “The Shift” sounded best; blusier material can be presented more authentically by someone pushing 60 than rippers like “He Who Cannot Be Named.” The highlight was “Archangel,” a song Danzig wrote with Damned crooner Dave Vanian in mind. Danzig played guitar to give the song extra heft and his vocals were especially soulful.
The second part of the evening showcased material from November Coming Fire, including the first ever live rendition of “Kiss Of Steel” and a rousing encore of “Halloween II.” The exclusion of “In My Grip” was an oversight — it’s one of Samhain’s best songs — but otherwise the set was perfectly arranged.
Danzig has said this is the last time Samhain will ever play although musicians are known to backtrack, especially if money is involved. If it’s indeed the end take what could be your final chance to hear a collection of timeless songs.
Samhain 30 San Francisco Set List:
Initium / Samhain
All Murder, All Guts, All Fun
Intermission (Misery Tomb)
I Am Misery
To Walk the Night
Kiss of Steel
Let The Day Begin
Mother of Mercy
(Encore) Halloween II
Samhain 30 remaining dates:
October 26 – Austin, Housecore Horrofest
October 29 – Philadelphia, Electric Factory
October 31 – Washington D.C., Howard Theatre
November 1 – New York City, Best Buy Theatre
** U.S. black metallers Nightbringer are an entity unto themselves. The Colorado-based trio make music unlike any other. The group’s new album, Ego Dominus Tuus, is a haunting reality check of the darkness that is around us and the darkness that consumes us. Claustrophobic, uncompromisingly intense, and yet very musical (think Classical), Ego Dominus Tuus is the answer to brow-beater, mouth-breather black metal. Nightbringer brings sophistication to the genre. Nightbringer brings the genre to new places, some real, some ritualistic. Either way, Nightbringer is America’s answer to black metal. All should hail! All should bow!
FULL ALBUM STREAM AT BOTTOM OF POST!
Is Ego Dominus Tuus merely the follow-up to Hierophany of the Open Grave or is it something else entirely? Naas Alcameth: Musically, there is much departure from previous works I would say. The core elements that are the foundational musical identity of Nightbringer are still present, of course, but there is a lot that has changed. The approach was much more refined this time and more time, and emphasis was given to the dynamic of the guitar, bass and keyboard lines while keeping with the overall goal of composing movements highly evocative of images appropriate to the subject matter: darkness, night, strife, furor, majesty and so on. Lyrically ,there are of course some shared subjects between Ego and some of our previous releases given that they are all inspired by certain esoteric traditions, and such traditions, at their core, aren’t transient, yet it is not reiteration of what has already been said. That would be somewhat pointless. You could say that this path we are undertaking, spiritually speaking, like any true path, is something that begins to change at the onset, or more accurately it changes you, and with the first attempted step, mystery gives way to little truths and what you thought was truth gives way to more mystery in an ongoing process. This all sounds very nebulous and vague perhaps, but it is the best way I can explain this inner movement, and it is this process which inspires esoteric art, which is what we consider Nightbringer to be, so, not unlike this process, each offering from us musically is like an epiphany, another ray of light, refracted through the prism of our souls from the same light source, way-markers upon a very long path that we have just barely set foot upon.
There’s an uncommon density to Ego Dominus Tuus. Is Nightbringer’s goal to occupy sonic space and consume it? Naas Alcameth: I think it is less of a goal and more of a habit, a natural consequence of our preference for grandiose and elaborate compositions. I have said in the past that I view our approach to compositions akin to a mason’s approach to constructing cathedrals. We are building cathedrals of sound with the same intention that a mason constructs a cathedral of stone—for the glorification of our Lord. The compositions are often complex and high-arching in order to relay the same sense intended with the cathedral. The symbolism and intent is the same, albeit who or what we praise is not. With that said, one can just as effectively relay this spiritual gravity by carving a few lines in a single stone. Minimalism is an art unto itself and when done with mastery can move the soul as profoundly as the most elaborate work.
Musically speaking, Nightbringer doesn’t sound too tied to the tropes of black or death metal. There’s almost a classical sense to the band’s musical approach. Comment on this, please. Naas Alcameth: The old black metal influences are present still of course, but I agree with your statement overall. This has everything to do with our love of classical music. We have much appreciation for individuals such as Bach and Rachmaninov to contemporaries such as Legitti and Arvo Part. I am also a huge fan of Elend. It is also no coincidence that our black metal influences are those few old bands who incorporated this same classical approach.
Is there something deeper with the title, Ego Dominus Tuus, which translates to something like “I am your lord”? Naas Alcameth: Certainly. The meaning is manifold. At the surface it is both commandment and revelation and says much about where one stands, at various points along a dark initiatic path, in relation to the God(s). It also ties directly into a certain divine name that serves as cipher for a hermetic process of tribulation that is represented as a hierarchical trinity.
What significance does religion have to humanity at this stage in our history? Naas Alcameth: Keeping in mind that word ‘religion’ is somewhat inadequate as a description of what we are speaking of, given the inevitable associations that come with it, I would say that it mirrors the current state of man and the cyclic stage he finds himself in, i.e. the Kali-Yuga. It is an inevitable process of movement away from forms that may have at one point housed sacred truth to forms that are all but completely profane; we find such forms wanting, empty. It is like building a temple to house and nurture a flame, in order that others might come to be within its light, yet becoming so entranced with the edifice itself that the flame becomes forgotten, and so it is now long gone out from the temple (this could very well also serve as an allegory for spiritually inspired music as mentioned above). The temple may be empty, but we remember, while most continue to tend to the temple not even realizing a real flame was ever present, or in their ignorance mistaking sentimentality, “social progress” and the like for the flame. Most do not even bother, as the light of the modern world is enough to light their lives. Science and a purely human reason have replaced the sense of the sacred. For such people, the quantitative has become the temple, and no other truth exists. In truth, this ‘flame’ I am symbolically speaking of cannot go out. It is everywhere and in all things eternally regardless of how dead the world has become to it.
Do you see separation between Abrahamic religion and other religions of the world, ancient and contemporary? Naas Alcameth: This is a vast topic that can only be briefly touched upon here. In approach and spirit, yes, most certainly there is a separation. To be sure, one can find similarities, but it should be stressed that the Abrahamic religions adopted and adapted (some would say stole) some of their more foundational myths from the Babylonians before them (see Herman Gunkel) and took much of their philosophy from the Greeks. When it comes to the more esoteric aspects of the Abrahamic faiths, things become complex, though even here there are differences. I will leave it at that, since it is hard to say more without going into much more detail.
There are references to magic in your music. What is magic? Naas Alcameth: Let me now reiterate something I have recently stated elsewhere, that for us to even begin to speak of these things in this context, to try to lay bare and relay the profound mysteries of magic, is to speak with a vast measure of inevitable falsehood, as the only way to truly know something is to be it, and we are in no position to speak on such matters with a voice of authority, as to do so will ring hollow and only serve to make mockery of what we tell you we believe to be sacred. We can only speak of the shadow of the thing but not of the thing itself, by way of symbol and allegory as well as the innate inborn intuition and lastly and most importantly, by the most fleeting of glimpses of what we have indeed experienced, in dream or in practice, but of nothing else, and to do otherwise runs the risk of quickly becoming absurd, an unintentional sophistry but sophistry never the less, something we have painfully come to realize and cautiously reassess. So let me sum this question up by quoting someone who could indeed speak with an authoritative voice on the matter of magic…
“Magick is the transmutability of the Quintessence of all nature.” ~ Andrew D. Chumbley
And now let me follow it with this…
“Always we want to learn from outside, from absorbing other people’s knowledge…. The trouble is that it’s alwaysother people’s knowledge.” ~Peter Kingsley
How does Yeats play into the title? Naas Alcameth: The title was inspired by Yeats conception of the Daemon. This Daemon and one’s ‘otherness’ is central to our beliefs as relayed within the lyrics.
Black metal isn’t often literary outside of the usual suspects. What have you been reading lately? Naas Alcameth: I have been reading some of the works of Algris Uzdavinys, Peter Kingsley, Johannes Nefastos and have most recently started going through Chumbley’s Dragon Book of Essex.
Tell us about the cover art by David Herrerias. How does it relate to the music? Naas Alcameth: The album cover depicts the hierarchical triad, the enigma of the sacred name and path spoken of above. David is involved with many of the same esoteric currents we value which only further strengthened the symbolism used. He did an absolutely brilliant job.
What do you think of the current state of US black metal and where it’s headed? Naas Alcameth: I am mostly ambivalent towards the scene in general. I like the bands I like, and am very appreciative of the good black metal that does surface, regardless of location. For me that is really enough. I can say that I have been really impressed with Funeral Presence.
Why is darkness so unfrightening now? Or perhaps darkness is merely light in another guise. Naas Alcameth: Aesthetic has become unfrightening perhaps. Darkness? No… People have adopted this idea that darkness is simply an idea, a concept as effuse as a daydream, opposed to something real. Darkness is as real and alive as you or I, so much more so. There is a tendency not to fear what you are simply not aware of, what you truly do not know and have no real reference to even begin to know. True darkness, in its most profound sense, is the very heart of all fear. Those that experience this darkness experience what it actually means to die, to die in the most profound possible way, and none but those that have learned how to “die before they die” could possibly be in darkness without fear. Some of us have come close to this darkness in dreams (especially in dreams) or during meditation, or during hallucinations and those of us who have respect the magnitude of what this is and understand a fear that is far beyond the mortal fear of physical harm. This darkness is the dispersion of who you are (what you think you are is more correct). It is the slipping away of everything, literally everything, and all you know to be you. It is complete and utter annihilation, and yet it is also the road to salvation. This all sounds very melodramatic, but the truth of it hums just beneath the surface of your waking reality, and all one needs to do is to deprive one’s self of all senses for a duration of time to begin to understand, to feel this truth. Even still most will rationalize the significance away afterwards, like treating a burn (as the darkness burns all who enter) with an anesthetic until the significance is buried under the numbness of reason. Learn to be still (so that you may feel this darkness), learn to be silent (that you may hear it speak) and learn to die (that you may for the first time live). This is what we seek. Nothing less.
** Nightbringer’s new album, Ego Dominus Tuus, is out September 30th on Season of Mist. It’s available HERE (domestic!) for Pre-Order. We recommend clicking the link before Eschaton brings us all down.
** Mysticum have mystified black metal purists for decades. The Norwegians’ debut album, In the Streams of Inferno, split black metal into tiny shards, its fans wondering what the fuck in its wake. Originally slated to be released on Euronymous’ Deathlike Silence Productions, the ground-breaking, genre-defying release found a home on American black metal label, Full Moon Productions. Even today, now reissued by Peaceville Records, In the Streams of Inferno makes black metal cower under its innovation and otherworldly presence. The Norwegians, inactive for a spell, are now back with follow-up album, Planet Satan. No less frightening, elusive, and powerful than its predecessor, Planet Satan is another album for black metal to digest and misunderstand with great frequency. Perhaps not. It’s been 18 years between albums. Actually, time doesn’t matter. Mysticum still mystifies!
(photo by Peder Klingwall)
What’s Mysticum up to lately? New album, Planet Satan, is coming out soon, right? Mysticum: Yes, Planet Satan is being released by UK company Peaceville Records the 27th of October. Besides the upcoming release we’re just about to enter the rehearsal studio again and rehearse the new songs and also make more new music for further releases, so great things are happening with the band nowadays.
Will Planet Satan be a continuation of In the Streams of Inferno or something entirely different? Mysticum: In many ways it will and in many ways it also reminds us of the debut because the style of it is the same in much of it. It also is a lot like the later stuff like “Eriaminell” and “Black Magic Mushrooms”, so there is nothing to fear about this release. This release will surprise you over and over again and your favorite song will probably change all the time. We are satanically proud of this release and think it our best work.
In the Streams of Inferno was re-reissued this year. What’s different about the Peaceville version? Mysticum: The whole thing is different, like the artwork that includes more pictures of the band and individual pictures of each member. The front cover is giving away the atmosphere of what Mysticum is about in that album and the audio of the album is re-mastered to get the more correct sound that was actually meant for it. We were much younger at the time this album was recorded and very eager to get it out as soon as possible because of all the delays made be the tragedy of Euronymous. The guy mixing the album was not into any kind of metal music at all, but more into pop and rock so he did not have a clue about what we wanted so that’s why it sounded that way. Now Mathias and Tom at Strype Audio did the re-mastering and the sound turned out as good as it can possibly get we think. Yes the reissue also contains the very first live show we did under the name Mysticum.
What do you think of the album after all these years? Mysticum: We still think it kicks shit and no one actually has understood what we are about to clone us and that is a good thing we think, or perhaps it is just the respect out there keeping it from being cloned. It is raw cold and a massive sound and gives away an atmosphere we’ve not heard before, so we’re very satisfied with it still.
The Norwegian scene became insular after Euronymous’ death. What do you recall about Norway, as a scene, from 1993 to, say, up to the release of In the Streams of Inferno? Mysticum: Yes, it got insular because people were pretty much shocked about what happened to him. It was the greatest tragedy in black metal history and it divided the Norwegian black metal scene and the hatred grew insanely huge against the ones involved in the participation of his murder. People from the Norwegian scene got involved with the Swedish black metal mafia “the inner circle” and things went really crazy… People wanted to avenge his death. This whole shit really delayed our release of the debut album at that time which was supposed to be titled Where the Raven Flies.
Do you remember why you changed the album title from Serpent Mysticism and then Where the Raven Flies to In the Streams of Inferno? Mysticum: Serpent Mysticism is something we totally have forgotten about and I can’t still remember that title [Laughs] Where the Hell did you get this from? But the title seems very realistic because of the earlier band name Sabazios, which was an old Greek snake worshiping sect. Thank you for reminding us about this.
Mysticum had an unorthodox approach to black metal. What was your vision, if you remember? Mysticum: Our vision about that approach now called industrial black metal was to make music like we did and actually more like you hear it on the later stuff and the up-coming album Planet Satan. Industrial sounding guitar and electronic/computer programmed drums and samples were the idea, mixed together with black and death vocals and a bit of psychedelics too. Unorthodox yes but who the Hell gives a shit but us. [Laughs]
At the time, a lot of people didn’t know what to make of In the Streams of Inferno. Now, it’s a cult classic. Is there such thing as the right place at the right time? Mysticum: It was very ‘new’ at that time and the normal kind of Norwegian black metal was still growing, I guess. I think as you mentioned in the last question it was unorthodox and perhaps a bit ‘blasphemous’ towards this Norwegian black metal receptive that had developed and that is why Euronymous probably liked it so much because he could sense the value and dark position out of this essence we were cooking up. He said that he believed this was going to be huge in the right time further into the future and the morons complaining about this did not understand shit about what all this was about. [Laughs] He was a brilliant man.
I’m sure the drum machine threw people. What do you remember about the decision to use a drum machine rather than, say, a drummer like Hellhammer, who was briefly part of the lineup? Mysticum: I answered parts of this question on your last question, so I’m not gonna repeat myself again. Hellhammer was never part of Mysticum, but we rehearsed with him for a little while to see how it sounded and we thought that it was not cool with organic humanized drumming so we went back to the old ways with programmed drums. Hellhammer also wanted to turn Mysticum into Mayhem at that time, but we turned down that offer too.
** Mysticum’s new album, Planet Satan, is out October 27th on Peaceville Records. Pre-orders can be made HERE if you’re sci-fi and into the blackest metal from the outermost parts of the galaxy. Yes, this is all true.
New Jersey-based brazen black metallers Abazagorath have sprinkled the last six or seven years with splits and an EP, but October 7th of this year will see the release of their first album in ten years. What does the band have in store for you on their nearly-dawned The Satanic Verses? How do you feel about losing limbs, face flesh and copious amounts of blood from your neck? Abazagorath promises all this (with occasional interludes so you can fully absorb what is happening to you) and threatens to turn your brain into an inescapable hall of dark rituals.
A month ago, Invisible Oranges threw us all a bone with a premiere of the new album’s lead track, “Mahound,” and now you can hear “The Angel Gabriel” here at the Deciblog. Read below and find out about the band’s plans, influences, and why the next album will not take another ten years.
Can you talk a little about the members of Abazagorath, what your lives consist of, and how that affects the band’s recording/performing schedule?
The black cult of ABAZAGORATH consists of three demonic entities: Warhead (Thermonuclear Drums of Doom, Verbal Hate Amplifier), Ciemnosc (6 String Razorwire Decapitation) and Aversario (Subsonic Volcanic Emanations). As far as our personal lives it’s no one’s fucking business what we do in our personal time, all you need to know is Abazagorath practices on a weekly basis and we continue to create music we enjoy Christ Raping US Black Metal.
What was the drive behind starting Abazagorath in the first place? What do you think has changed musically/conceptually about your songs over the past 10 or 20 years?
In June of 1995, ABAZAGORATH was formed with the intention of creating original Black Metal with a dark and haunting atmosphere. ABAZAGORATH reflects the initiates’ deepest fantasies of hatred, war, melancholy, darkness, evil, the occult and death. The sonorous magick of ABAZAGORATH represents a union of warlike ferocity with an eerie, mystical aura. As far as the songs over the last 19 years, real simple we have all matured as musicians. But it is also due to a desire from all the bands members to create and release music that is constantly fresh and constantly taking things a step forward. Abazagorath is a band that has never done the same album twice and we have always been looking for ways to advance and improve our sound while still retaining the fierce, hateful, uncompromising attitude that has defined Abazagorath throughout our career.
What bands or experiences do you think have influenced your writing/playing style?
VENOM was my personal inspiration and what got me into Black Metal, but you can hear early 90s Norwegian / Swedish Black Metal as well as the original early to mid-80s Black / Thrash movement in our music. While we still refer back to these points of inspiration, we are not content to churn out a mere re-hash of these styles, but are trying to build up on the influences to create something that is not so simple to classify as just stereotypical Black Metal.
How did The Satanic Verses come together? What was the writing process like for these songs? Was recording a straightforward or difficult process this time around?
The writing for the new album was just like the last 2012 self-titled EP. The guitar tracks were recorded with a drum machine and then handed out to each member to learn. I would add my own drum style and Ciemnosc would then add harmonies, solos, etc. Once everybody learned the material we would start practicing the material live. The recording was straight forward and relatively easy. All the drums were done in one take, plus we had the luxury of recording at Ciemnosc’s studio Wrong Planet.
What tour plans do you have to support The Satanic Verses?
As far as shows for the year we only have 2 live rituals scheduled. Signature Riff presents Friday December 5 The Acheron Brooklyn, NY (Abazagorath record release), with fellow Eternal Death artists Sangus and One Master. We will also be playing Baltimore MD Saturday Dec. 20 with long time war brothers Bloodstorm and Kult Ov Azazel. I am currently working out tour dates for 2015 so stay tuned.
Do you anticipate an extended break after The Satanic Verses, or do you expect more immediate future work with Abazagorath?
NO.New material is being crafted and honed to lethal precision and previously unreleased hymns may force their way unto the world. Once again the Horns of ABAZAGORATH will Impale the Heavens!!! Arrogance & Wrath….
While the news has had time to sink in with the passing of time, it was a big ol’ shocker when Witch Mountain vocalist Uta Plotkin announced she was stepping away from her post after five years of fronting the Portland doom heroes. According to drummer Nathan Carson, he and the other members [guitarist Rob Wrong and bassist Charles "Charles Dingus" Thomas] received the disheartening news via phone shortly after returning from a European tour a few months ago. Plotkin and Witch Mountain are on the tail end of their pairing – opening for Nik Turner’s Hawkwind across North America – and from there the band will begin seriously entertaining CVs from hard-working, golden throat-ed individuals willing to jump into the fiery fray surrounding their recently released fourth album, Mobile of Angels. You will definitely be reading a lot from the remaining members about their present and future, so we tracked down the departing Plotkin and somehow managed to get the normally reclusive vocalist to answer a few questions about her departure from the band.
So, you’re leaving Witch Mountain after this next tour. What were the factors leading to this decision and when did you make it?
I’ve been feeling restless for about a year. I joined Witch Mountain in 2009 looking for a learning experience and just experience in general. I had started my band, Aranya a year earlier and was new to the scene and new to running a band. I worked fanatically those first few years, but as I passed out of my twenties and into my thirties, I found my priorities changing and my inner vision shifting from something ecstatic and all-encompassing to something more personal. With three albums behind me in Witch Mountain, I feel I’ve accomplished what I needed to here and as it’s taking up more of my time, it’s harder to justify neglecting other parts of my life and creativity.
Was it a difficult one to make and was it difficult bringing it to your band mates?
Of course, this was a difficult decision that kept me up nights. I’m making big changes in my life and that’s never easy or comfortable. Luckily my bandmates took the news with maturity and understanding.
Are you leaving the world of metal/music? What are you going to be heading into and what is the next chapter of your life looking like?
I don’t intend to stop making music, metal or otherwise. This next year will be an incubation period for the next phase. After this fall tour I’m moving onto my friend’s farm in Oregon City where I’ll have plenty of time and space to work on a solo album and continue my training in web development and programming. Also, Aranya might record one more album early next year before I go hermit.
What would you say were some of the high/lowlights during your time in the band and what aspects did you like/dislike about being in a touring band with a rising profile?
Writing and recording with Witch Mountain has been a special treat. Rob and I write well together and recording with Billy Anderson demonstrated to me what a good producer can do to take your music to the next level. Being in Witch Mountain made me a better and more confident performer. As far as touring, getting to see more of the world through the lens of underground music was something I’d dreamed of for a long time. But the pace and intensity often overwhelm me. The attention too, despite being mostly positive, makes me uncomfortable, which doesn’t bode well for me as we gain in popularity. I’m a private person and the internet is not for private people. Over the last few years too, I’ve been turned off by the business of music, its falsity, its cynicism, its shameless, empty bragging and how it makes some people treat and talk about others. But I’ve met too many positive and inspiring people in music to let that get me down for long.
With your time in Witch Mountain, how do you feel you changed as a person, what lessons did you learn that you feel you’ve been able to apply to your everyday life and what mistakes do you think you’re now better equipped to avoid?
This is a hard question to answer right now. I feel very different than I did six years ago but the changes just kind of feel related to getting older. Ask me again in a year when I have a better perspective on all this. One thing that hasn’t changed though is the principle that guides my life better than any other I’ve come across, and that’s to follow my heart.
Witch Mountain + Nik Turner’s Hawkwind (remaining dates)
09/18 – Chicago, IL @ Beat Kitchen
09/19 – Rock Island, IL @ RIBCO
09/20 – Milwaukee, WI @ Cactus Club
09/21 – Saint Paul, MN @ Turf Club
09/22 – Winnipeg, MB @ Pyramid Cabaret
09/23 – Saskatoon, SK @ Vangelis Tavern
09/24 – Calgary, AB @ Palomino
09/26 – Vancouver, BC @ Venue (early evening show)
09/27 – Seattle, WA @ Chop Suey
09/28 – Portland, OR @ Star Theater
And if you think your singing voice has what it takes, check them out on Bandcamp and contact them via Facebook.
You ever go to your parents’ house, watch football all Sunday, and forget to feed their dog? Week 2 in the books. Let’s do this.
I met Ryan Wolfe, drummer of Richmond doom band Windhand, back in 2012, when I booked his band the first time they came through Chicago. After load-in, he asked me if the bar’s TV had cable. He wanted to watch the Washington Redskins/Buffalo Bills preseason game, which showcased the debut of highly touted first-round QB Robert Griffin III. I responded by telling him that the owner of the club was a hack and hadn’t paid his cable bill in years.
We didn’t watch a second of the game that night, but I never forgot Ryan’s Redskin ties. So, when Windhand came through Chicago last week, I knew to hit the Skins with him. If you haven’t heard of Windhand, by the way, you’ve been living under Damien Woody for the last three years. These dudes do nothing but tour, pack venues and lay waste with their female-fronted psych/doom metal machine. One of the tightest bands of the genre I’ve ever had the pleasure to see. They absolutely crush.
Now a full three years after the RGIII debut we didn’t watch, and two injury prone seasons, I asked Ryan for his thoughts on the Skins’ lackluster offense under Griffin, or as he likes to call him, “Bobby Three Sticks.”
“It all goes back to Bobby Three Sticks. He’s not confident… he’s so paranoid to fuck up, HE ENDS UP FUCKING UP!”
RGIII may be a classic too much, too soon case. He started his first game as an NFL QB. We are slowly seeing how bad this can be for rookie quarterbacks. Yes, on-the-job training is arguably the best training, and there are exceptions to the rule (i.e., Andrew Luck). But for every Luck, there are several quarterbacks who spend their first two seasons getting destroyed, both mentally and psychically, for mediocre-at-best teams. The irony is, by the time said team is ready to compete, said quarterback is often injury-prone and mentally crippled.
Besides battling injuries, Bobby Three Sticks has Kirk Cousins to deal with. If you’re unfamiliar with Kirk Cousins, he’s RGIII’s backup, looks like a young Dave Coulier, and coincidently, also likes when you go down on him in a theater. According to Ryan, the DC media foreshadowed a QB controversy brewing during the preseason:
“When the Patriots came to town during the preseason, they scrimmaged with the Redskins … (and) it was put out in the press that everyone in the Patriots organization said the offense ran more smoothly under Kurt Cousins with the first team than it did under RGIII.”
I think it was then that Ryan and I had a simultaneous thought: What if it was Cousins at the helm this year and not RGIII? It was then that we heard a thunderclap outside the green room we were sitting in.
Fast forward to this past Sunday. RGIII dislocates his ankle in the first quarter of the Skins’ home opener against Jacksonville and is carted off the field. Like cosmic clockwork, Cousins comes in and throws a 20-yard touchdown to TE Darrel Young on his first snap. The Skins crowd goes Hog-wild, and RGIII, at least for this game, becomes an afterthought. Cousin finished with 250 yards passing, two touchdowns, and a 109 passer rating in the blowout.
You know how Mindy Kaling cries every time FOX is about to cancel her show, so they don’t cancel it? Well, RGIII can’t get away with that in the NFL. It starts with this week’s huge clash with division rivals, Philly. If Cousins produces this year, I think RGIII is gone and Cousins wins Jay Gruden’s heart.
Before Ryan headed to the stage and I headed to the bar, he gave me a great story from his childhood as a Redskins fan, most notably about his celebration of the 1991 Super Bowl win:
“I wore Zubaz pants, an Art Monk jersey, and a Redskins tie to school the next day, and got made fun of SO bad… I had to call my mom to bring me a change of clothes.”
Mrs. Wolfe, if you’re reading this, please don’t bring a change of clothes the next time he wears this outfit.
I’ve never really liked Adrian Peterson. No, it’s not because he’s averaged 100+ yards and has 14 touchdowns against my beloved Bears in their 12 meetings. Or because he unnecessarily has two nicknames, AP and AD (why?!!!). It’s for a much more superficial reason:
I’m in Las Vegas for Week 1 of the 2009 season. I’m sitting at an outdoor bar watching the Vikings/Browns game. Sitting right next to me, by chance, is Chicago White Sox Hall of Famer Frank Thomas (he sat next to me). I am the only person in Vegas who had the unbelievable smarts to bet the Brady Quinn-led Browns getting a million points over the Brett Favre-led Vikings. My Browns are hanging in there. It soon becomes apparent that Frank Thomas has a 10k bet on the Vikes. He made sure everyone in the bar knew. I have $100 on the Browns and don’t tell anyone. Yet Frank Thomas has to let everyone know about his bet. Classy, Frank. So, now I’m pissed. And of course, as soon as I hit my apex of pissiness, Peterson busts for a 64-yard TD run in the fourth quarter, covering the spread. Frank Thomas stands up from his stool, rejoices, and starts high-fiving people and yelling at the TV, “That’s my boy. I know him. All Day Baby, All Day!” My trip was ruined.
This aside, in October of 2013, I was devastated to hear that Peterson’s two-year-old son had died as a result of child abuse from another man (a story that has seemingly has fell by the wayside in this current debacle). Nothing makes me sicker than child abuse perpetrated by stepparents and live-in boyfriends/girlfriends. From a psychological standpoint, the majority of said incidents occur because the abuser is trying to in a roundabout way get over on the kid’s biological father and/or mother. The child becomes a pawn in their personal struggles with their insecurities. This incident was the first thing that popped in my head when I heard Peterson had been arrested for child abuse this week. I was totally baffled as to why a man who experienced such a tragedy could have such tendencies a mere two years later, let alone ever.
Peterson was “disciplined” by his parents growing up. He was born in rural East Texas in the ’80s. His disciplines were a product of the time and the region. However, it’s not the ’80s anymore. Having money, not to mention an education and access to forward-thinking people should have helped his personal ethics evolve. In this case, it didn’t.
“It is important to remember that Adrian never intended to harm his son, and deeply regrets the unintentional injury,”said Peterson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin. This is an outstanding statement only a lawyer could make. So, he intended to hit his child, but not cause him harm? Hmmm… I think this is meant to say is that he meant to harm his child, but not cause any seeable harm. You know, any visual that could potentially lead back to him or deem his actions wrong by society?
So, let’s quickly compare this to the Ray Rice situation: Rice gets fired and indefinitely suspended, and rightfully so, for punching a grown woman. Peterson hits a defenseless four-year-old. Someone who can’t get up and leave the next day. Anything less than a year suspension by the NFL is probably hypocritical. I feel horrible for Vikings fans in this situation, who I have a lot of respect for. Adrian Peterson was set to retire the greatest Viking of all time. This will tarnish his legacy. Just bad news for AP, or AD, or whatever he wants to call himself.
Are You There Colin? It’s Me, God.
The Prep/Chad Muska skater boy look isn’t as cute at the postgame press conference after three interceptions and a lost fumble.
Sometimes You Feel for a Nut
And finally, in this past Sunday’s win against San Francisco, Chicago Bears cornerback Charles “Peanut” Tillman reinjured his tricep and has been placed on IR for the rest of the season. Everyone watching saw the writing on the wall when the camera focused in on Tillman crying on the sidelines not from pain, but from the reality of his injury. This may spell the end of his 12-year NFL career. Peanut has been adamant about saying he wants to retire a Bear. Sadly for Tillman, the new Bears regime under coach Marc Trestman has also been adamant about taking health and age into play when resigning players (i.e., Brian Urlacher, Devin Hester). Tillman has been to two Super Bowls: one as a player in 2007, and last year’s as a recipient of the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. His winning the award was mainly based on this work with his foundation, Tillman’s Cornerstone, a Chicago charity that helps for chronically ill children.
As for his on-the-field play, he is criminally underrated. His biggest standout stat is his incredible 42 forced fumbles since 2003 (way more than any active NFL player). Below are two clips of Peanut that sum up his career: his Man of The Year induction, and him robbing future Hall of Famer Randy Moss of a game-winning touchdown in his rookie season. He never looked back from this play.
I hope this isn’t the end for Peanut, even if it means him playing for another team. If it is, the Bears and the NFL couldn’t have asked anything more of him and the example he has set in his tenure. As fans, we live vicariously through our favorite players. We’re happy when they’re happy. We’re sad when they’re sad. We’re mad at them when they’re mad at themselves. We’re hurt when they’re hurt. In the case of Charles Tillman, anyone who has lived vicariously through him is a better person for it.